-- Says it is “sad and regretful”
Bishop Mohammed Sanogo of Ivory Coast has apologized for the deaths of the two children as a result of a stampede at his crusade in Kakata, Margibi County.
The kids, aged 2 and 6, respectively, were trampled to death at the Nancy Doe sports stadium in Kakata during the climax of a three-day crusade organized by Bishop Sanogo.
The incident occurred on Nov. 20 and it occurred after one of the deceased kids had fainted in the crowd, causing a stampede as hundreds of other kids and their accompanying adults fled. Several children were rendered unconscious. The victims were identified as Jallah Molley and Ben Kamara.
But Bishop Sanogo said while he regrets the incident, it was the presence of the crowd at the stadium prior to the arrival that triggered it.
“This was a very sad part of our campaign in Kakata, which happened because of the distress of the population,” Bishon Sanogo added. “Many were injured but two of them passed away and this is very, very sad. I was very shocked and it was very hard for my heart because we came to help people and show love when this happened.”
“We are very happy that in times of difficulty and by the grace of God we are here. If you want to do the works of God, Satan wants to fight or stop you. But you have to persevere”.
Bishop Sanogo is the Founder and General Overseer of the Messages De Vie (Messages for Life) Ministry based in Cote D’Ivoire. The ministry was founded in 1996.
He and his team are presently in Liberia for a crusade under the caption, “A New Liberia with Jesus” as part of his ministry’s “Impact Nation” initiative.
The Ivorian preacher added that following the stampede, he mandated his team of missionaries to assess the situation and meet with the bereaved families to take full responsibility for the situation and those who have been injured and hospitalized.
He disclosed that the school fees of the older children involved in the stampede will be paid by his ministry.
“A team of missionaries from his ministry remains in Margibi and Nimba to assess the situations the locals are faced within those areas and see how best our ministry can make some interventions,” he said.
The surge in the crowd at the crusade came after Bishop Sanogo and his team announced that gifts, including book bags and other assorted school supplies, would be distributed among about five thousand students. This led to parents and their children showing up as early as 3 a.m.
Maima Kebea, the aunt of 2-year-old Ben Kamara, narrated that little Ben was on his mother’s back when they both entered the stadium but, due to the tension, the mother fell with him and the crowd trampled the child, causing him to go unconscious. He was rushed to the Kakata Health Center, where he was pronounced dead.
The kids confirmed dead include Ben Kamara, age, 2, and Jallah Mollay, age 6. Mr. Zuannah Mollay, the father of the late Jallah, said he received a call by 6:30 am that his child was unconscious at the stadium and in need of oxygen. Upon his arrival, he was told that his child was dead.
However, the Bishop has called on Liberians to avoid being in a rush to receive free gifts, medical attention, and others “as his ministry remains poised to ensure that everyone receives something that will not only be a gift, but it will also be a channel for miracles.”
Meanwhile, Bishop Sanogo and his team are holding a similar crusade at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville, outside Monrovia. It is expected to end on November 26.
“Some people have the power to link with some very, very bad spirit which could improve poverty and difficulties. God shows us love and God wants to show to the Liberian people that he can come again to heal. Drop that behavior and bad attitudes and come back to God.”